What Every House Flipper Should Know About Fieldstone Foundations

building stone foundation

A fix and flip operator with a practiced eye can quickly estimate if a property will be worth an investment. Too often, operators take one look at a stone foundation and immediately dismiss the property as hopeless.

Totally avoiding a historic home with fieldstone foundations could mean missing out on a tremendous opportunity.

Rubble or stacked stone foundations are very common in homes 100 years or older. They were constructed using the best building technology of the time, which was essentially using mortar to bond stacked stones together. These foundations are very common in areas of the country that had colonial settlements.

Over the years, this mortar tends to break down into crumbles or powder. This can cause problems in structural stability that scare off many house flippers, but many fieldstone foundations can still have long lives ahead of them.

Don’t be afraid! They can be strong and last for hundreds of years.
The walls and floors can be excellent indicators of a stone foundation’s health. Look for bowing and the plumbness of the walls for clues. If the foundation has been well-maintained and the surrounding property is built to drain well, the work could still be in very good condition.

Crumbling isn’t always a deal breaker. Solid repair work is very possible.
At first glance, a fieldstone foundation may show signs of mortar disintegration. This is a very natural process that doesn’t always mean a loss of structural integrity. If the foundation wall hasn’t sustained cracks or bowing, some service to the mortar joints might be all that’s necessary.

Be realistic about the form and function of stone foundations.
Fieldstone foundations, by their very nature, will not be totally resistant to moisture or pests. At the time of construction, these areas were mere cellars with dirt floors meant to absorb environmental impact. Drainage on the landscape of the property should help to avoid too much moisture and steps can be taken to handle small pests.

Don’t miss out on a great opportunity for profit just because of a stone foundation. With the right inspection and knowledge, these properties can be a strong investment. When you’re ready to move forward your project, look into our Fix & Flip Calculator and start planning today.